Steven McWhirter goes for a dozen World Solo Drumming Championships against formidable competition
A total of 51 of the globe’s best adult pipe band drummers will vie for a 2023 World Solo Drumming Championship title on Saturday, October 21st, at Glasgow Caledonian University in Glasgow, Scotland, as part of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s biggest solo competition of the year.
The adult World Solo Snare Championship will see Inveraray & District Leading-Drummer Steven McWhirter go for his eleventh consecutive title and twelfth in total as he attempts to get closer to the record of 16 total wins held by pipe band legend Jim Kilpatrick.
This year’s competition sees 30 snare drummers pre-qualified via six regional championships held earlier in 2023. Six finalists from two groups of 15 will be chosen to go on to a final of a dozen contestants, each of whom will play in MSR and Hornpipe & Jig events, the aggregate results of both contests determining the final prize list.
In addition to McWhirter, many drummers in the semi-final have had prizes in previous World Solo Championships, some repeatedly. Field Marshal Montgomery Leading-Drummer Gareth McLees has been second in the competition three times. He just finished a highly successful pipe band season, leading his corps to the 2023 RSPBA Champion of Champions Drumming title by winning two majors and finishing second at the World’s by winning the drumming in three out of four events. Despite being first three times, Simon Fraser University took the drumming on aggregate points after Field Marshal Montgomery’s drumming was placed sixth in the Friday MSR.
St. Laurence O’Toole’s Michael McKenna and Blair Brown of Simon Fraser University have also had second-place finishes in the World Solos.
Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Leading-Drummer Kerr McQuillan will debut in the adult section, as will Blair Beaton of the 78th Fraser Highlanders. Both come into the event having won the 16 and Older but under 18 Juvenile titles. McQuillan turned many heads in 2023 in his first year leading Boghall’s corps and by winning the Scottish Solo Drumming Championship qualifier last April, ahead of McWhirter, who finished second.
In the adult tenor championship, 21 drummers will compete for the title determined by a single MSR event.
In addition to hearing the best pipe band drummers in the world, the competition is a chance to listen to several world-class pipers accompanying them.
Snare Semi-Final Group 1 (alphabetical by last name)
- Blair Beaton, 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
- Craig Brown, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
- Richard Black, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
- Alex Buchanan, Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
- Matthew Cole, Matt Boyd Memorial (Northern Ireland)
- Stephen Creighton, St. Laurence O’Toole (Republic of Ireland)
- Greg Fullerton, Johnstone (Scotland)
- William Glenholmes, Field Marshal Montgomery
- Robert Graham, Simon Fraser University (Canada)
- David Henderson, Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
- Alexander Kuldell, MacMillan (USA)
- Eric MacNeill, City of Dunedin (USA)
- Steven McWhirter, Inveraray & District (Scotland)
- Fionn Murphy, St. Laurence O’Toole
- Steven Shedden, Hawthorn (Australia)
Judges: David Brown, Gordon Brown, Keith Orr
Snare Semi-Final Group 2 (alphabetical by last name)
- Blair Brown, Simon Fraser University
- Grant Cassidy, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
- Derek Cooper, Ulster Scottish (USA)
- Glen Creighton, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- Mackenzie Forrest, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
- Jake Jörgensen, ScottishPower (Scotland)
- Ryan King, Edradour Pitlochry & Blair Atholl (Scotland)
- Cameron Lawson, Inveraray & District
- Gavin MacRae, St Laurence O’Toole
- Gareth McLees, Field Marshal Montgomery
- Kerr McQuillan, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- Gavin Orr, Johnstone
- Matthew Shaw, Ravara (Northern Ireland)
- Anael Tanguy, ScottishPower
- Chloe Taylor, ScottishPower
Judges: Arthur Cook, Alan Craig, Duncan Millar
Adult Tenor (alphabetical by last name)
- Jamie Alfred, City of Dunedin
- Jordan Bailie, Inveraray & District
- Jamie Blair, Ravara
- Lucy Carroll, ScottishPower
- Jonny Cousins, Major Sinclair Memorial (Northern Ireland)
- Lorna Clement, City of Newcastle (England)
- Emily Davidson, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- Shannon Davies, Police Scotland & Federation
- Andrew Elliott, Field Marshal Montgomery
- Blythe Gerrie, ScottishPower
- Brianna McDonald, Police Scotland & Federation
- Shanna McDonald, Police Scotland & Federation
- Donelsa McNeil, Denny & Dunipace (Scotland)
- Rebecca Noble, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- Zara Pate, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
- Hugo Richards, Denny & Dunipace
- Cameron Sinclair, Police Scotland Fife
- Lauren Thomson, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
- Iona Underwood, ScottishPower
- Morven Walker, Inveraray & District
- Jill Watson, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
Judges: Trevor Buckley, Stevie McQuillan, S. Muir
In 2022, no prize money was given to the prize winners despite the event’s prestige and sponsorship deals with various organizations, including Glasgow Life, which licenses the World Pipe Band Championships from the RSPBA.
No prize money is expected this year, either.